Al-Dhahabi on the Sayings of Imam Ash-Shafi’ee

March 26, 2012

By Abu Amina Elias for

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Al-Dhahabi related many of the wise sayings of Imam Ash-Shafi’ee in his book on the biography of scholars. Among them are that the Imam, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

ما أفلح من طلب العلم إلا بالقلة

The students of knowledge do not succeed except for a few.

And he said:

كذبت قط، ولا حلفت بالله ولا تركت غسل الجمعة وما شبعت منذ ست عشرة سنة إلا شبعة طرحتها من ساعتي

I never lied, or swore by Allah, or left the ritual bath on Friday. I did not have a full stomach for sixteen years, except once and I did not go back to it.

And he said:

من لم تعزه التقوى فلا عز له

Whoever is not honored by fearing Allah, then there is no honor for him.

And he said:

ما فزعت من الفقر قط طلب فضول الدنيا عقوبة عاقب بها الله أهل التوحيد

I was never afraid of poverty. Seeking an excess to what one needs in this world is a punishment with which Allah punished the people of monotheism.

And it was said to him:

مالك تكثر من إمساك العصا، ولست بضعيف

You often grab the cane, but you are not weak.

So he said:

لأذكر أني مسافر

To remind myself that, indeed, I am a traveler.

And he said:

من لزم الشهوات، لزمته عبودية أبناء الدنيا

Whoever sticks to his desires, worshiping other people will stick to him.

And he said:

الخيـر في خمسة غنى النفس وكف الأذى وكسب الحلال والتقوى والثقة بالله

Good is in five: self-contentment, refraining from harm, earning the lawful, fearing Allah, and trusting Allah.

And he said:

أنفع الذخائر التقوى وأضرها العدوان

The most beneficial of lasting provisions is the fear of Allah, and the most harmful of lasting provisions is aggression.

And he said:

اجتناب المعاصي وترك ما لا يعنيك ينور القلب عليك بالخلوة وقلة الأكل إياك ومخالطة السفهاء ومن لا ينصفك إذا تكلمت فيما لا يعنيك ملكتك الكلمة ولم تملكها

Avoiding disobedience to Allah and leaving what does not concern you will enlighten the heart. I advise you with retreat and little eating. Beware of mixing with fools and whoever does not do you justice.

And he said:

لو أوصى رجل بشئ لأعقل الناس صُرف إلى الزهاد

If a man were to will some of his wealth to the wisest of people, it would go to the ascetics.

And he said:

سياسة الناس أشد من سياسة الدواب

Administering the people is more difficult than administering livestock.

And he said:

العاقل من عقله عقله عن كل مذموم

The wise person is the one whose mind controls him from every disgrace.

And he said:

للمروءة أركان أربعة  حسن الخلق والسخاء والتواضع والنسك

Nobility has four pillars: good character, generosity, humility, and piety.

And he said:

لا يكمل الرجل إلا بأربع بالديانة والأمانة والصيانة والرزانة

A man is not complete except with four: religiosity, honesty, conservation, and sobriety.

And he said:

ليس بأخيك من احتجت إلى مداراته

He is not your brother whoever needs to be accommodated by you.

And he said:

علامة الصديق أن يكون لصديق صديقه صديقا

A sign of friend is his being a friend to his friend’s friend.

And he said:

من نم لك نم عليك

Whoever gossips for you will also gossip against you.

And he said:

التواضع من أخلاق الكرام والتكبر من شيم اللئام التواضع يورث المحبة والقناعة تورث الراحة

Humility is a part of noble character, and arrogance is the habit of villains. Humility inherits love, and contentment inherits comfort.

And he said:

أرفع الناس قدرا من لا يرى قدره وأكثرهم فضلا من لا يرى فضله

The highest people in status are those who do not see their status. And the people who give grace the most are those who do not see their grace.

And he said:

ما ضُحِكَ من خطأ رجل إلا ثبت صوابه في قلبه

A man’s mistake was never mocked except that its correction was remembered in his heart.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.